Are you about to lose one of your best marketing players to the competition? It’s a good question to consider. Top marketers are restless, ambitious achievers with big dreams. They set high standards for themselves and, spoken or unspoken, for the people who lead them. When things are not going particularly well, they often become open to outside influences. Yes, these “outside influences” include recruiters. With that said, no recruiter ever kidnapped a candidate.
What really motivates top marketers to leave? Simply put, they tend to leave because they are significantly discontented. That may sound negative. But I can tell you with confidence that in the absence of strong discontent, world-class marketers normally won’t take the risk of leaving their company – often despite some very tempting opportunities.
If you want to retain your top marketing players, you must invest the time and energy required to gain their trust, to guide them, to draw out their real career concerns, and to be their advocate on an ongoing basis. If you do these things consistently over time, they will rarely interview someplace else (at least not on your watch).
If you’re wondering if all that work is really worth it, know this: Your R.O.I. for the time and energy you invest in your best people may go well beyond just retaining them in the short run. There are other potential benefits. For example, as you build a reputation as an exceptional mentor, you may become the boss that the up-and-coming marketing superstars within your company seek out. Some day, if you should choose to leave your company, you’ll also be better positioned to entice outstanding marketers (and/or the top people within their networks) to join your new team. I regularly see both of these situations play out – creating career advantages for everyone involved.
One last thought. You have far more influence over retention and turnover than you might imagine. In large part, it’s your decisions, your actions (not those of marketing recruiters or anyone else) that determine whom you’ll retain or lose. So, reach out to your best people. By making a difference in their careers – you may be making an even bigger difference in your own.